Save Mart Center was the place to be on Friday night when Blake Shelton made his stop in Fresno to bring the “Doing it to Country Songs” tour to a full house of country music fans.
The Oklahoma native and coach from NBC’s “The Voice” demonstrated his fun-loving, charismatic energy throughout the evening. Shelton’s ability to relate to the fans in attendance gave the concert the feeling of a backyard party.
Joining along on the tour were two former Voice contestants, both of whom were coached by Shelton. Season 11 winner Sundance Head got the night started, followed by Season 2 alum Raelynn.
With songs like “God Made Girls” and “Love Triangle,” Raelynn brought the people to their feet as they continued to file in and fill up the venue. The crowd sang along as she performed a cover of Hailee Steinfeld’s “Starving.”
Shelton came to the stage next, and the arena was filled with roars and screams. Donning an acoustic guitar, the multiple award-winning country artist opened his set with “Neon Light.”
“It’s going to be a long night, Fresno,” Shelton said. He explained to the crowd that in this instance, “long night” was used in a good context that meant the night would be filled with new and old songs.
He played many of his hit singles like “Some Beach,” “Sangria,” “Lonely Tonight,” “All About Tonight,” “Honey Bee” and “Sure Be Cool If You Did.”
During the middle of his performance, Shelton took a break to play an acoustic set when it was just him and his guitar. He played one of the crowd’s favorites, “Austin.”
He spoke about meeting and getting to talk with Fresno State head football coach Jeff Tedford.
“No ’Dogs down,” Shelton said about what stuck with him after talking with Tedford earlier that day. He explained how that is the way we should view our fellow neighbors.
After the break, he sang a cover of George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” and everyone was dancing and grooving.
Erica Lopez, a Fresno State student majoring in public health, has been a fan of Shelton for over three years, and Friday marked the first time she saw him live in concert.
“It was an awesome experience,” Lopez said. “He was very interactive with the audience, and he would move all around the stage instead of being in just one place. If he were to come again, I would totally go.”
Head and Raelynn joined Shelton on stage to sing “Boys ’Round Here.” As the performers walked off the stage, the fans were yelling for more songs.
The request was answered as the musicians came back out along with Shelton and started the encore with a rendition of “Footloose.”
The evening had laughter, cheers, tears, singalongs and friendly moments. Shelton definitely had everyone showing off that “Hillbilly Bone” on Friday night.